CAN prayer and an understanding of God really combat evil effectively? The Bible promise is clear: ``...we do not war after the flesh: (for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God....''1 I had an experience a few years back that helped me see more clearly that God, good, can protect us from evil and destroy its supposed authority. At that stage in my life I was earnestly striving to be better. Rebellion and naivet had previously caused me considerable trouble. I was just beginning to study Christian Science and was thoroughly interested in what I was finding--that what Jesus taught and demonstrated is very practical now and that through an understanding of divine law we can find healing and protection. As I was walking home one day, there was something special about the goodness I was feeling as I read the Bible along the way. I was filled with a sense of God's love and power. Four young men stopped and offered to give me a ride. Clearly it was unwise for a young woman to accept the offer, but I did so. (I was soon to learn that there was still much of the naivet to be relinquished.) As we started driving, one of them asked, ``Do you have any dope?'' ``Me?--No, I've found something better.'' ``What?'' ``God.''
They laughed, but undaunted I started telling them something of what I had been reading, and they listened. Finally one of them indicated that their original intention had not been at all a good one, but that they had changed their minds. I was frightened at first, wondering if they might change their minds again. But immediately the thought came, ``If what you have been reading is true for you, it's true for them too.''
I was learning that man lives under God's care and government--that man is the spiritual image of God. That doesn't apply just to a few but to everyone. Later I understood that that thought was my protection because it was the truth. It was divine law, superseding the threats of evil and silencing them.
For the rest of our trip I continued to pray to see that man, the real man made by God, is spiritual and perfect. The young men told me why they felt justified in hating women. We had a rather animated conversation. During that experience I never felt any personal hatred from them or for them. In fact I felt God's love for man, in spite of their initial intentions. We parted with handshakes. We had all been protected by the Love that is God. (Incidentally, that was the end of my accepting rides from strangers.)
This experience strengthened my conviction that what I was learning through my study of Christian Science was in fact the very vital message that Jesus had for mankind. I had experienced something of the truth of what Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: ``Clad in the panoply of Love, human hatred cannot reach you.''2 This is a spiritual fact, a law of God, and I was beginning to see how practical spiritual facts are.
Christian Science teaches that since God is omnipresent and good, as the Bible says, there is no genuine reality or authority to evil. Clearly, this is contrary to what the physical senses tell us, and most of us have been taught that what those senses report is indisputable reality--that life is obviously a mixture of good and evil. Life does seem that way. And yet if the one infinite God is All, the spiritual and good are the real, despite evidence to the contrary. In order to begin proving this, we need to learn the spiritual facts and deny the inharmony reported by the senses, be it sin or sickness. When Paul wrote, ``To be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace,''3 wasn't he telling us to be conscious of the spiritual reality? Spiritual-mindedness is what is needed to overcome evil, to prove it powerless, in us and in the world.
Becoming more spiritually-minded is something we all can do. The way has been clearly pointed out. Yes, there are demands--a diligent willingness to grow, to love, to be unselfish, to learn of the things of Spirit, God, and to pray. But because the spiritual is true, our efforts will make a difference. We'll prove in increasing measure the supremacy of divine Love over the threats of evil.
1II Corinthians 10:3-5. 2Science and Health, p. 571. 3Romans 8:6. DAILY BIBLE VERSE My defence is of God, which saveth the upright in heart. Psalms 7:10